Daughters and Revolutions (2014) is an elaborate painting and mixed media work on paper and canvas that exemplifies the technical intricacies of Báez’ work. The painting depicts a portrait of a woman adorned with flora and fauna, fabrics and bedazzlements in her hair. Created for the Prospect.3 Biennial in New Orleans in 2015, Notes for Now, curated by Franklin Sirmans, Báez looked towards a period when the city of New Orleans was still under Spanish colonial rule, and the free expression of Creole women was regulated. “New Orleans governor at the time, Esteban Rodriguez Miró, made this decree, know as Bando De Buen Gobierno (Proclamation of Good Government) stating that free women should not expose their curly hair in public, rather they should cover it up with the head wraps worn commonly by slaves – a way to physically and publicly assign these women a lower social status…these women, however, had an unapologetic approach to interpreting Rodriguez Miró’s mandate. They started to beautifully decorate their headdresses with the finest textiles, jewels, ribbons, and feathers, creating a style that later became popular in Europe.”
Báez’ oeuvre has included many of these headdresses, or tignons, with roots in the West African gélé, as a way to embody and represent the fruitful resistance they symbolize, incorporating historical symbols including the twin snake, azabache and black power fists into intricate patterns inspired by global fashion and textiles. The works’ title, Daughters and Revolutions, bears reference to Daughters of the American Revolution (DAR), a non-profit organization founded in 1890 for women to promote the preservation of American history, education, and patriotism in the founding principles of freedom in America.
Prospect.3: Notes for Now, 2014-15, curated by Franklin Sirmans, New Orleans, LA
Vessel of Genealogies, 2016-17, Tarble Arts Center, Eastern Illinois University, Charleston, IL
Vessel of Genealogies, 2017, DePaul Art Museum, DePaul University, Chicago, IL
Gallery Wendi Norris, SF, USA 2017